Flavor Insight: Key Lime

October 28, 2021
Flavor Trends
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Also known as the Mexican lime or West Indies limes, Key limes are small and spherical limes that are yellow when ripe and contain more seeds than regular limes. The juice of the Key lime is described as tart and extremely aromatic. Mostly known for its inclusion in the ever-famous Key Lime Pie, we are seeing 47% growth in Key lime global new product introductions from 2020 to October 2021. Key lime is also appearing in many categories beyond bakery, including dairy products, desserts & ice cream and chocolate confectionary. Let’s take a closer look at Key lime and see where it is appearing on the menu, in new products and social media.

Key Lime Social Listening Summary

We conducted a social listening analysis on Key lime covering the previous 12 months. An overview is provided below.

  • 92,914 mentions in the past year.
  • 59% Female


Twitter: @abundanceflavor posted a new recipe stating, “Trust me, this will be your new favorite dessert, Mini Key Lime Cheesecakes. These adorable no-bakes are tart, creamy and sweet all over.” On her blog, she describes the cheesecakes as “effortlessly combine two classic desserts into one incredible treat.”


On Foodnetwork.com 375 recipes appear when searching for Key lime. The recipes include the obvious and beloved Key lime pie but also includes recipes for Key lime martinis, cheesecake bars, dips, boozy milkshakes and even Key lime crème brûlée.

With Pastry Beers, Have Your Cake and Drink It, Too

In a January 2021 article from the New York Times, they highlight how breweries are taking inspiration from desserts, snacks and even candy. They feature Rachel Edwards, the head brewer of Oozlefinch Beers & Blending and notes that she thinks like a pastry chef and writes her beer formulas that are inspired from sweets like key lime pie, coffee cake and even banana pancakes to gain mainstream consumer appeal.

Key Lime on the Menu Q1 2020 - Q2 2021

928 key lime mentions on the menu

Casual dining is the top restaurant segment, with dessert as the top menu section with the most key mine flavored menu items. Desserts account for 78% of all key lime flavored menu items.

Menu Mentions:

FINE DINING: Chicken Picatta with capers and a key lime beurre blanc and is served over linguine pasta at Island Way Grill in Clearwater, Florida.

QSR: Key Lime Pie Concrete includes vanilla frozen custard with a slice of Key lime pie, topped with whipped cream and sprinkled with graham cracker crumbs at Freddy’s Frozen Custard nationwide.

CASUAL DINING: Dragon Fruit Margarita combines Patron Silver Tequila, triple sec, dragon fruit, key lime juice, sweet and sour with a sugar rim at Bahama Breeze in Orlando, Florida.

Consumer Awareness of Key Lime

Key lime is a flavor that is very familiar to consumers according to Datassential’s Flavor Tool.

Key lime is in the 77th percentile among all food and flavors, meaning that consumers love key lime more than 77% of all other items.

  • 21% love it

  • 89% know it

  • 69% have tried it

  • Most popular with the baby boomer generation

Key Lime Global New Product Introductions 2015-2021

213 key lime-flavored new product introductions


  • NORTH AMERICA is the top global region for key lime flavored new product introductions

  • BAKERY is the top product category globally for key lime flavored new products.

  • FLAVOR PAIRINGS: Key lime is most often just a single flavor—we are spotting key lime paired with crème brulée, coconut, and passionfruit.

Products of Note:

Hostess Key Lime Cupcakes: The limited-edition product is described as a frosted yellow cake with key lime creamy filling and is artificially flavored. | Spain

SiS Science in Sport WHEY20 Strawberry & Key Lime Pie Flavored High Protein Squeezy Food Supplement: Described as a dairy based snack with sweetener. The low sugar product provides 20 g protein and 4.3 g BCAA per serving. | UK

Kopper's Chocolate Dark & White Chocolate Key Lime Pie Bites: Described as bite-sized works of art, a twist on an American classic, and a tangy and sweet treat. | Singapore

Key Lime North America New Product Introductions 2015-2021

131 key lime-flavored new product introductions

  • NORTH AMERICA accounts for 62% of the key lime flavored new product introductions.
  • BAKERY is the top product category for key lime flavored new products in North America.
  • FLAVOR PAIRINGS: Key lime is most often just a single flavor—we are spotting key lime paired with coconut, dark chocolate and white chocolate.

Products of Note:

Crowns & Hops Brewing Co. Mama's Keys Key Lime Pie Gose: Brewed with key lime puree, cinnamon, coriander, sea salt, vanilla, and graham crackers. 30% of consumers stated they would likely or definitely buy this product, outperforming its subcategory. | USA

Kit Kat Key Lime Pie Crisp Wafers: A Limited-edition Kit-Kat is described as crisp wafers covered in key lime pie flavored cream filling. 48% of consumers stated they would likely or definitely buy this product, outperforming its subcategory. | USA

Finaflex Oatmeal Protein Krazy Key Lime Pie: The high fiber and all-natural product contains natural flavors, sweeteners and colors, described as two soft and chewy oatmeal cookies with a creamy krazy key lime pie filling. Contains 14 g of protein per pie. 29% of consumers stated they would likely or definitely buy this product, significantly underperforming its subcategory. | USA

The Takeaways

Key lime is showing growth in global new product introductions in just less than one year ago. North America is the key region for Key lime new product introductions and accounts for 62% of all Key lime flavored new products. With its tart and aromatic flavor profile, Key lime is a great addition to provide a fresh and bright characteristics to any product. The question is—is Key lime on your Flavor Radar?

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Sources in full report